Gravel & Shea PC

Latest News

Gravel & Shea Ranked Tier 1 By Best Lawyers® for 13 Practice Areas

In conjunction with U.S. News & World Report, Best Lawyers® just released its 2020 “Best Law Firms” rankings. Gravel & Shea is proud to have once again been ranked Tier 1 in Burlington for 13 practice areas:

  • Appellate Practice
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Law
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White Collar
  • Employment Law – Management
  • First Amendment Law
  • Litigation – Labor & Employment
  • Litigation – Real Estate
  • Mergers & Acquisitions Law
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Real Estate Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law

According to a press release issued by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers®, receiving a tiered ranking “signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

Tim Smart, executive editor at U.S. News & World Report, stated that “choosing the right law firm can be a vital decision. The rankings draw on U.S. News’ 35 years of experience evaluating complex institutions to help individuals and companies alike make the best decisions.”

Gravel & Shea also ranked tier 2 in Burlington for bet-the-company litigation, corporate governance law, and medical malpractice law – plaintiffs.

Gravel & Shea PC November 8, 2019

Super Lawyers Honors Twelve Gravel & Shea Attorneys

We are pleased to congratulate 12 Gravel & Shea attorneys, who have been recognized by Super Lawyers 2019 as Super Lawyers, Rising Stars and Top 100 New England attorneys in New England Super Lawyers.

Super Lawyers uses a patented, multi-phase selection process to create its annual directory of outstanding attorneys. The Super Lawyers team completes independent research on nominated attorneys, looking at 12 indicators of professional achievement and peer recognition, such as verdicts and settlements, transactions, and special licenses or certifications. A Blue Ribbon Panel then evaluated candidates. Rising Stars are chosen from Vermont lawyers under 40 or practicing fewer than 10 years.

The 2019 Gravel & Shea recognized attorneys are:

Jeanne C. Blackmore: Estate Planning & Probate, Tax

Livia K. DeMarchis (Rising Star): Estate Planning & Probate, Tax, Business/Corporate

Heather Rider Hammond: Employment & Labor

Robert B. Hemley (Top 100 New England Attorney): General Litigation, Personal Injury—General, Personal Injury—Medical Malpractice

Pauline Law (Rising Star): Business/Corporate, Securities & Corporate Finance, Employment & Labor, Intellectual Property

Daniel J. Martin (Rising Star): Civil Litigation, Securities Litigation

William A. Mason: Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities & Corporate Finance, Banking

Jerome F. O’Neill: Personal Injury—General, Professional Liability, Personal Injury—Products, Business Litigation

Robert F. O’Neill: Personal Injury—Medical Malpractice, Family Law, Criminal Defense

Jeffrey O. Polubinski (Rising Star): Real Estate, Land Use/Zoning

Robert H. Rushford: Real Estate, Environmental

Navah C. Spero (Rising Star): General Litigation, Estate & Trust Litigation, Employment Litigation, Business Litigation

2.5% of nominated attorneys are selected as rising stars. 5% of nominated attorneys are selected as Super Lawyers.

Gravel & Shea PC October 22, 2019

New USPTO Regulations Require Foreign-Domiciled Trademark Owners To Use A U.S.-Licensed Attorney

New United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) regulations effective August 3, 2019 require that all “foreign-domiciled” trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) proceedings appoint a U.S.-licensed attorney to represent them before the USPTO.  This includes Canadian trademark applicants and owners.


Why the change?  According to the USPTO, the change was necessary to preserve the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register, to guard against an increasing incidence of fraud affecting the international business community that relies on the trademark register and to increase compliance with U.S. trademark law and regulations, cutting down on improperly crafted submissions.

The new regulation applies not only to new applications, but also to any submission to the USPTO made after the effective date, including responses to office actions or other filings (including Declarations of Use, renewals and other necessary filings) relating to applications submitted before August 3rd.

We know this is a source of frustration for the many experienced trademark owners and intellectual property practitioners domiciled outside the U.S. who practice with expertise and integrity.  Canadian practitioners who have worked with the USPTO for years, even those who benefit from the reciprocal arrangements of the USPTO Office of Enrollment and Discipline (“OED”), will still need a U.S.-licensed attorney to file formal responses and correspond with the USPTO.  The experienced intellectual property counsel of Gravel & Shea are ready to assist our international partners with their USPTO filings as well as to provide guidance and counsel to trademark applicants within and without the United States.

For more information contact: 

Cassandra LaRae-Perez, Gravel & Shea PC, 802-658-0220 Ext. 213,


Gravel & Shea PC October 2, 2019

Attorney Pauline Law Returns to Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is delighted to welcome Pauline Law back to the firm’s corporate practice. Pauline practiced with Gravel & Shea from 2012 to 2018, and briefly relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, during her spouse’s fellowship in surgical critical care at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“I’m excited to be back at a firm that combines a first-rate legal practice with a deep dedication to the community,” says Pauline. “And of course, I’m very glad to be in beautiful Vermont again.”

While in Baltimore, Pauline practiced at a large DC-based law firm advising privately-held businesses in the biomedical, cybersecurity, marketing/advertising and telecommunications sectors. Pauline will continue advising Gravel & Shea clients on mergers & acquisitions, debt and equity financings and technology transactions.

“We are all thrilled to have Pauline rejoin Gravel & Shea after her stint in Baltimore,” says Gravel & Shea Managing Partner Bob Rushford. “We were disappointed to see her go, and our corporate clients will definitely benefit from her return.”

Prior to joining Gravel & Shea in 2012, Pauline received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a Business & Public Policy Certificate from the Wharton School of Business and holds a B.S. in Economics and Chinese Studies with a minor in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University.

Gravel & Shea is a full-service law firm in Burlington, Vermont, providing its clients legal services in a wide variety of disciplines, including commercial transactions, civil litigation, real estate, intellectual property, energy, land use and environmental regulation, estate planning, mergers and acquisitions, personal injury litigation, employment law, and family law.

Gravel & Shea PC September 24, 2019

Attorney Chase Whiting Joins Gravel & Shea

Gravel & Shea is proud to welcome Chase Whiting to the litigation team. Chase will work with the litigation team on all aspects of state and federal litigation.

“I am thrilled to work alongside Gravel & Shea’s skilled litigators to help our clients achieve their goals. The depth of expertise here is truly remarkable. To practice with attorneys of this caliber and in the wonderful state of Vermont is an unparalleled opportunity.”

Chase joins Gravel & Shea after completing two judicial clerkships — for the U.S. District Court, Maryland and for the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Chase graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the American Criminal Law Review.

While a student, Chase worked as a senior analyst on strategic initiatives at Georgetown University, interned as a student attorney at the Institute for Public Representation, and served as a law clerk for the Obama Administration.

“We’re excited to have Chase joining us here at Gravel & Shea,” says Gravel & Shea Partner Navah Spero. Chase is smart and hard working. His background as a law-clerk at the trial-court and appellate-court level will make him an invaluable part of our litigation team. Chase graduated from UVM, and we’re delighted that he chose to return and build his practice in Vermont.”



Gravel & Shea PC September 11, 2019

Gravel & Shea Participating in Program to Improve Gender Equity in the Workplace

Gravel & Shea recently joined the 2019-2020 cohort of businesses participating in a Vermont-based program aimed at improving gender equity and inclusivity in workplaces around the state.

Business Peer Exchange began in 2015, led by Beth Sachs, founder of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and a Vermont Works for Women board member, and Lindsey Lathrop-Ryan, a business coach working with Change the Story VT. A year-long program, Business Peer Exchange works with Vermont businesses to shift workplace culture towards gender equity and inclusivity by creating “gender equity ambassadors” in workplaces throughout the state and providing coaching and support as these ambassadors make changes within their organizations.

A longtime sponsor of the Vermont Women’s Fund, Gravel & Shea has a history of commitment to women’s advancement in the workplace and the community. Hiring partner Michelle Farkas spearheaded the involvement with Business Peer Exchange.  “The program is exciting because we have the opportunity not only to make changes within our firm but also to support and learn from other organizations in Vermont,” says Farkas. “Progress on this front will require movement on a community level, not just within individual workplaces.”

As participants in Business Peer Exchange, Gravel & Shea employees have access to a series of virtual trainings that address equity issues in the workplace, including building inclusive talent pipelines and website messaging, acknowledging implicit biases, and identifying male allies. Designated employees within the firm will attend 10 in-person exchange sessions and bring ideas back to a larger Business Peer Exchange team at the firm. The team is tasked with creating a Gender Equity Plan for Gravel & Shea.

“Of course we’ve always made sure our employment policies and practices meet legal requirements, and we help our clients do the same,” says Heather Hammond, a Gravel & Shea partner specializing in employment law. “But we’ve also looked for opportunities to attract and retain a diverse talent pool — for instance, by offering paid family leave. The collaboration inherent in Business Peer Exchange allows us to develop new ideas that will build on the work we’ve already done.”

Gravel & Shea PC August 22, 2019

11 Gravel & Shea Attorneys Honored by The Best Lawyers in America 2020

Gravel & Shea is proud to congratulate eleven of its attorneys who have been recognized in the legal publication The Best Lawyers in America© 2020.

Best Lawyers has been in publication since 1983, and its rankings are created through peer-review evaluation. They receive more than seven million votes each year. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Best Lawyers also recognizes those attorneys that rank highest for their practice area in their geographic area. We congratulate Partner Peter S. Erly for his 2020 Corporate Lawyer of the Year recognition and  Partner Michelle N. Farkas for her recognition as 2020 Real Estate Lawyer of the Year for Burlington.

Gravel & Shea attorneys rank in Best Lawyers year after year, and we are proud to congratulate the following members of our team:

Peter S. Erly, recognized since 2007

  • Corporate Law
  • Mergers and Acquisitions Law
  • Securities / Capital Markets Law
  • Securities Regulation

Timothy M. Eustace, recognized since 2013

  • Litigation – Real Estate

Michelle N. Farkas, recognized since 2007

  • Real Estate Law

Heather Rider Hammond, recognized since 2015

  • Employment Law – Management
  • Litigation – Labor and Employment

Robert B. Hemley, recognized since 1989

  • Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • First Amendment Law
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

William A. Mason, recognized since 2013

  • Corporate Governance Law
  • Corporate Law

Jerome F. O’Neill, recognized since 1993

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar
  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Robert F. O’Neill, recognized since 2006

  • Commercial Litigation
  • Criminal Defense: General Practice
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar

Keith A. Roberts, recognized since 2013

  • Corporate Law

Robert H. Rushford, recognized since 2007

  • Real Estate Law

Norman Williams, recognized since 2009

  • Appellate Practice
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Plaintiffs
Gravel & Shea PC August 15, 2019

Gravel & Shea Wins Dismissal of Libel Suit Against The Brattleboro Reformer

Gravel & Shea’s First Amendment practice group secured another victory on August 12, 2019 when the Windham Unit of Vermont’s Superior Court dismissed a libel action brought against The Brattleboro Reformer and one of its reporters.  The suit grew out of reporting about the efforts of Kimberly Crosson to acquire an interest in a derelict building in Bellows Falls, Vermont that was formerly operated as The Hetty Green Motel.  In dismissing the action, the Court also accepted Gravel & Shea’s argument that the suit was subject to Vermont’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) statute, which protects publishers from lawsuits that are intended to burden them with legal costs as a tactic to discourage them from commenting on matters of public interest.  Under Vermont’s anti-SLAPP suit, the Brattleboro Reformer and its reporter are entitled to recover their legal fees from the Plaintiff.  Bob Hemley handled the case for Gravel & Shea.  A link to the decision is here.

Gravel & Shea PC August 13, 2019

Attorney Heather Rider Hammond to Speak at Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar

Gravel & Shea shareholder Heather Rider Hammond will speak at the Associated Industries of Vermont (AIV) Human Resources Seminar on August 1, 2019, at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Montpelier, Vermont.  This seminar will focus on key human resource developments and issues facing Vermont employers.  The seminar will cover issues impacting private and public sector employers and the professionals who serve them, and will feature presentations, commentary, and audience Q&A with expert government and private sector presenters.  Heather will speak in regards to recent and pending issues related to protected leave, and will lead an interactive, round table discussion on difficult workplace issues that employers face.

AIV is a state-wide organization dedicated to manufacturers and their supporting business and organizations.  It provides legislative and regulatory advocacy and representation at the state and federal level; news and information; education; networking and marketing; and other benefits.  <Click here> for further information and to sign up for the seminar.

Gravel & Shea PC July 15, 2019

Gravel & Shea Attorneys Graduate Leadership Champlain Program







Congratulations to Gravel & Shea attorneys Brent Lanoue, Celeste Laramie and Hillary Borcherding! After completing a year of seminars and community service projects, Brent, Celeste and Hillary graduated from the esteemed Leadership Champlain program last week. Leadership Champlain is a professional development and community engagement program of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce with a mission to foster growth and leadership in professionals across Vermont. Brent, Celeste and Hillary will join the ranks of the many other Leadership Champlain alumni here at Gravel & Shea and will use the skills and connections they gained through this program to better serve their clients and their community. We are indeed fortunate to count such dedicated and engaged professionals as our colleagues!

Gravel & Shea PC June 25, 2019